BANGKOK — A leading pro-military party said Thursday it will reserve key ministerial posts for its members, reversing earlier talks of distributing them to their allies.
A day after Phalang Pracharath won its place as the core party in the next government, two party officials said the lucrative portfolios leading the Commerce, Labor, and Agricultural ministries must be retained for their party – not any of its coalition members.
“Phalang Pracharath Party should have the most important ministries that oversee basic infrastructure and develop the transportation system … and solve problems related to farmers’ crops,” Phalang Pracharath MP Sira Jenraka said at a party meeting today.
Sira said the party needs to maintain control over those ministries to continue policies already laid down by junta chairman Gen. Prayuth Chan-ocha.
“If Phalang Pracharath Party does not manage those ministries which can genuinely connect with the people and work for them, there will be long-term problems,” he said.
Another Phalang Pracharath MP, Anucha Noiwong, also urged Gen. Prayuth to pick a trusted person for the influential position of agriculture minister.
“In order to alleviate the public’s suffering, we need to have someone from our own party take the post of Agriculture Minister,” Anucha told the meeting. “As head of the government, the Prime Minister has the power to decide who is appropriate for the job.”
Phalang Pracharath’s claims over the three ministries – known in media lingo as “Premium Ministries” due to their massive budgets and all-important roles in the administration – rattled some observers because media reports had suggested those posts were promised to partner parties like the Democrats and Bhumjaithai.
A report on Bright TV yesterday quoted a source as saying that the Democrats and Bhumjaithai were supposed to divide both the three ministerial posts and deputy prime minister roles among themselves, but that the deal has been taken off the table by Phalang Pracharath.
When questioned about the alleged betrayal, Democrat leader Jurin Laksanawisit said it was too early to comment.
“I don’t want to say anything now, because I think everything will go the way we negotiated,” Jurin told reporters.